by Suzanne E. Harrill
Your life has many purposes. Many are
fulfilled in your day-to-day life and you do not think of them
as purposes. Yet you could say meaning and purpose motivated
each choice, each experience, and each role you have played that
taught you lessons about yourself, your relationships, people,
organizations, and how life works. The learning and growth that
has or is taking place from each experience moves you forward to
greater awareness and can be seen as a purpose in your life.
Some of you may choose to look broader and see the major theme
or spiritual reason for your life. Knowing your spiritual
purpose is a motivating and exciting force in one's life. Do you
know your spiritual purpose or are you ready to take on another
Destiny calls some people in a direct, clear
fashion and others in a general nonspecific way. Some people are
very aware of their mission while others are not. Some people
seek their spiritual purpose actively and others simply allow
life to direct them not giving it much thought. Some do not have
the need to define what they do as a spiritual purpose and other
people do. If you have reached mid life or later life, it is
common to seek deeper meaning and purpose for your life, beyond
involvement with your family or work. To self-actualize further
some of you may feel the urge to make a contribution to society,
to help humanity and the world by using the wisdom gleaned from
your life experiences and by using your gifts and talents. We
will look at different ways people discover deeper meaning and
purpose with some real life examples. I will also share some of
my process of discovering my spiritual purpose. If you want to
know your spiritual purpose or move on to another one there is a
Life-Purpose Inventory at the end of this article to help you
get started with this process. Those of you already on your path
may use this information for clarity and to celebrate how you
are already fulfilling your spiritual mission.
Some of you do not recognize that your
spiritual Self, soul, or God (substitute the right word for you)
has called you to express your life in a certain direction.
Without defining it as a spiritual purpose, you may have had a
lot of inner drive to accomplish certain goals or to develop and
use certain talents many times as an avocation. If you were to
turn around and review your life, you might see some important
patterns that point in the direction of seeing your purpose.
Maybe you had a strong desire to build or refinish furniture, to
raise orchids, to know the names of local trees and birds, to
write letters to the editor in your local paper, or to start
your own business. I will tell you about two people that I
believe are expressing their spiritual purpose in this way, yet
might not describe it such terms. The desire to develop and
enjoy one's interests and talents can be viewed as actualizing a
spiritual purpose. If it happens to benefit others that is
great; however, the fact is, if it brings more joy, peace, and
love into your life, it benefits the world.
How do you reach deeper to find spiritual
meaning and purpose that will motivate, stimulate, and enrich
your life at any age? Let us look at two processes. There is a
yin, or gentle, passive, or flowing approach, which allows your
spiritual purpose to find you. Then there is the yang,
directive, active, or seeking approach to finding your spiritual
purpose. Many of you have experienced a combination of both
Let me illustrate how the yin approach worked
for two of my friends where for each their spiritual purpose
found them. Friend number one had been on the journey to
wholeness and self-awareness for a long time and had done a lot
of inner healing before this purpose appeared. My friend and her
husband adopted their granddaughter as a two-year-old. This was
a total surprise and if you had asked my friend earlier if this
was in the cards, she would have been the loudest person to
protest. It evolved gradually and one day during a family crisis
she just knew what she needed to do. Parenting this child with
all the awareness that she now has is her spiritual mission and
she is very conscious of the fact.
Breast cancer catapulted friend number two
into her spiritual purpose which is healing her consciousness.
This required her early on to review her life, looking at
possible causes for the illness and healing the broken
relationships with her husband and children. Nothing goes
ignored by this woman and it has been over 15 years now. She
uses her wake-up call as a path to wholeness, always going
directly into the next issue that surfaces to be healed. For
example, she has learned to feel and work with her emotions, the
unhappy ones, as well as learning what joy and love are really
about. Her daily spiritual practice time is a deeply ingrained
pattern now. She uses art, journal writing, reading, and therapy
to help her process years of pain and grief. She is actively
involved helping, instead of avoiding, her mentally ill grown
son and building honest communication with her husband.
Both of these women are aware of the
spiritual purpose active in their lives. Some of you may have
had similar experiences where Life handed you your spiritual
On the other hand, I am the example for the
more yang approach in discovering one's spiritual purpose. The
statement "taking heaven by storm" fit me well for
many years. I actively went seeking the meaning of my life and
dug deep to know my purpose. Answers were given to me; however,
it was not until I was older that the information made much
sense to me and it was then I felt the passion to actualize
them. Timing is so important in living your life and fulfilling
your missions. You can get answers when you ask, yet the time to
actualize them depends on so many things: your maturity level,
your ability to assimilate and integrate your experiences, and
your degree of understanding the language of the soul, which is
intuition and inner knowing.
Because I was so determined and so yang in my
exploration of self and my inner healing, I found out a general
overview of my life purpose early, at the age of thirty. The
theme of my life I discovered is so simple that I almost did not
get it. How did I find out? Part of my self-discovery process
was to take workshops. In one exercise at a workshop, the
participants were regressed backward in time before birth to
meet their spiritual essence or soul. In the guided meditation
we were asked many questions; such as, why did we choose our
specific country, family, and time period to be born into, etc.
We were asked why we chose our particular sex, race, and
characteristics. One of the questions the facilitator asked was
"What is your spiritual purpose?"
After the meditation we were to write down
the information given to us. What was I given as my spiritual
purpose? It was simply to teach what I know. I was not
impressed and I put the paper away for many years thinking that
it was not much of a purpose. When the time was right I found
that paper again and by this time I had a much better grasp of
its meaning. By that point in time I had given talks,
facilitated groups and workshops, been in private practice as a
therapist, and written several self-help books on topics
relating to inner healing and understanding oneself. I smiled
when I read this early glimpse of my purpose because that is
exactly what I was doing. I was teaching others what I know
based upon my own experiences and those things that have helped
me on my journey to inner healing. In my presentations I had
been prefacing most of my talks with, "I share with you
what works for me and what I know is true for me from my
experiences." As I journeyed, I received other insights
relating to this general theme of my life or my spiritual
About six years later I had a powerful dream
that spoke to me with a specific way to actualize this purpose.
A few of my friends were going to a weekend intensive (workshop)
with a spiritual teacher. I wanted to go; however, the timing
was not right for me to attend. My purpose as a wife and mother
were pulling me stronger at that time. A weekend away was not in
To my pleasant surprise I had a powerful
dream that night that showed me that I really did not have to go
to the workshop to receive a blessing from this guru. I remember
in the dream humbly walking up to the guru (spiritual teacher)
and asking her what my purpose was. She smiled, bowed her head,
looked up and said, "It is writing."
I remember distinctly my reaction, which was
similar to the reaction I had to the meditation six years
previously. "Writing? I don't want that to be my
purpose," I thought to myself as I watched myself dreaming.
At that time I had written maybe two articles for a local
metaphysical paper and felt very incompetent as a writer. It was
a lot of work for me to do those two articles. I could not
believe at the time that writing could possibly by on my
Again, I smile now as I look back. It makes
perfect sense to me now; yet, it sure did not then. I am aware
now I had the grace to find my spiritual purpose early, so it
would be in the back of my mind as I was building my confidence,
my self-esteem, my awareness, my patience, and raising my
children. Even though I did not have the maturity to understand
either experience fully, I pondered them many times and
remembered them when I needed the courage to step forward on my
Now look at your own life. If you are not yet
sure of what your spiritual purpose is, do you want to explore
your consciousness to find out? Maybe you have a sense of
completing a lot of lessons and are ready to take another step
to find your spiritual purpose or another one? Do you know
yourself pretty well and have you done much inner healing? Have
you been asking yourself "Who Am I? Why am I here? What is
my spiritual contribution to the world? How do I tune into
divine guidance to direct my life?" These and many more
questions will be surfacing when you are ready. Those of you
just getting started on the spiritual journey, remember it is
not a race and we do not compare ourselves with anyone else. We
open when our timing is right. Many people discover their life
purpose while they are in a process of self-discovery and inner
healing. Others do not consciously know it for a long while.
Those of you who are on the yang side of the
equation can take the Life-Purpose Inventory to help you start
the deeper process. Get your journal out so you will have a
record of your answers and insights for further study. Ignore
any negative self-talk that wants to sabotage your spiritual
blossoming. Fear and doubt may try to stop the inner guidance
coming to you by telling you that you are not capable, evolved
enough, or worthy enough to participate in life in a larger way.
Remember it is your spiritual essence you want to tap into that
is beyond all the negative conditioning. Allow the process to
unfold as you weave together the tapestry of your higher
purpose. Honor the proper timing for you. During your process
pay attention to your dreams and jot down any messages, ideas,
desires, visions, suggestions, hunches, or feelings you receive.
Some people receive their messages in a silent voice that speaks
to them, others see in pictures, and others just have a
"feeling" sense of the answers.
After you have taken the Life-Purpose
Inventory, mediate on your answers and journal write daily until
you feel a sense of direction or clarity. You may sense the part
you are to play and the arena in which you will play in the big
picture of life or you may just see the next step or two for
you. Write down all your impressions; they are important even if
some appear to be mundane. For example, take it seriously if you
feel you need to get your house, closets, drawers, and files in
order. By eliminating what you do not need, you open the door
for what you do need to come to you.
If you get the impression to simplify your
hectic life, it will serve you to reevaluate your activities and
prioritize your real needs and values to create a solid
foundation for your spiritual mission just around the corner.
You may feel the need to go on a special diet, acknowledge and
heal one of your addictions, or start an exercise program. Once
you complete these mundane steps, you will be given the next
step and the next. The key is to follow each step and know you
are progressing on your spiritual path. Continue to override
doubt and negative self-talk and just keep going. Some day you
will turn around and observe where you were two, five, or ten
years ago and be pleasantly surprised that, by taking one step
at a time, you got so far.
Honor your resistances and the times when you
feel no willpower to put into practice what you know you need to
do. Listen and you will find you probably need some nurturing or
to finish some loose ends in your life, maybe heal one of your
relationships, leave a job, or change your negative thinking.
You are not backsliding if you go through a period of needing
Remember it is just as valuable a spiritual
purpose to raise a child, to grow a garden, to uplift friends
and family when they need love and encouragement, to develop one
of your talents, to get to know your self, or to heal a problem,
as it is to be president of your club, a musician, professional
athlete, to teach a class, or write a book. The important thing
is to be your true Self and actualize your spiritual purpose(s).
Whether you receive one step at a time or are
given the big picture as you discover your spiritual purpose, it
matters not. Just go with whichever way works for you. Your
spiritual Self knows you and how to reach and motivate you.
Thank goodness you do not have to be in charge, so relax into
the process of discovering your spiritual purpose.
Some people have a specific calling and
others have a more general purpose. Each of you has a special
purpose that only you can fulfill or you would not be here or
given the assignment. Do not underestimate the value of each and
every one of you and your missions. The greater whole of
humanity needs your particular note in the symphony of life.
1. List your talents, interests, and gifts
(you may or may not be using them). Write about one that you
would like to nurture.
2. What are things you love to do when you
have the time? What do you enjoy?
3. What are things you see others doing or
wish you could do if time, education, and money were not an
issue? What might be the "perfect" job or career for
4. Write about a significant religious or
spiritual experience you have had and how it impacts your life.
5. What do you think or feel would make your
family, community, or the world a better place? What small part
might you play to bring this about?
6. Discuss the major emotional events,
traumas, or challenges that have influenced or shaped your life?
Write about how they might motivate you to get involved in
making changes in the world, in people's awareness, or to help
others with similar issues or problems.
7. Write the most exciting future you can
think of for yourself.
8. Who do you respect, admire, and wish to
emulate? Explain. Write about possibilities where you might do
some of the same things that you admire?
9. List the lessons you feel you have learned
so far in life. Write about the ones that are still in process.
(Clue: Lessons are brought to awareness where you experience
conflict or dissatisfaction.)
10. What might you have to teach others who
are a step behind you working through similar issues or
challenges as yourself?
11. What do others say when they compliment
you? Use your imagination and explore how these traits could be
used in a greater way.
12. What childhood memories are themes in the
patterns that you repeat in your adult life? Explain how some of
these may be motivators to help you heal yourself and then model
your process to others.
13. Pray or meditate asking God, a spiritual
teacher, guide, angel, or wise person to give you insights about
your spiritual purpose. See, hear, or feel answers which can
come to you in insights, dreams, daydreams, etc. Write them down
14. Write about joy and fulfillment.
15. Do you think your purpose is more about
doing or being? Write freely what comes to mind.
16. Sit quietly and allow anything else that
your unconscious wants to express to flow onto your paper.